Monroe considers it his responsibility to keep Nick from taking up smoking.
"That would be cheating," he says to him, across his over-in-the-way legs awkwardly bent, over blood-daubed cotton balls, with Nick's chin in his hand and peroxide sizzling up underneath the scrape across his cheek, and that's when Nick realizes that he had said I'd take a cigarette right now out loud and opens his eyes.
Monroe's looking at him sort of oddly, but maybe that's the proximity, or maybe it's some Blutbadian urge to eat rising up under the smell of Nick's blood.
"How d'you mean?"
Monroe refocuses. He's wearing his glasses, and Nick's playing the part of clockwork. He shuts his eyes again, the nearest he goes to a wince when the cotton ball swipes and bubbles sting his brow. He's very still, for flinching. Aunt Marie must not have tolerated writhing away from the tools to pick out splinters.
"You don't smoke," he says, sounding for all the world affronted at the suggestion. Nick's bemused, feels his lips twisting but isn't sure what shape they're making.
"What am I cheating on? Being straight edge since high school?"
"Don't pretend you were ever anything but straight edge to me," Monroe warns, and there's a low sound- a chuckle, repressed in both their throats- as his hips shift on the coffee table. Monroe is not made for sitting on tabletops, his knees bent up awkwardly between Nick's. Nick is bigger than a pocketwatch and so the couch is his workspace and it requires adjusting to his comfort levels he is mildly resentful of. Monroe doesn't drink caffeine after two in the afternoon unless they're going hunting, so he's drinking water, while at some point between eleven p.m. and two a.m. Nick will need to drive home and is twisting a mug of coffee in his palms between them. The smell of it is rich and intense on Nick's breath, to a point that would probably make Nick uncomfortable were he fully aware of it.
The coffee cup changes rotation, went summer time.
"How d'you mean?" Nick says again, another blink slow and controlled and Monroe wonders how he'd flinched before he was twelve.
"You come home," Monroe says, and drops the cotton ball with others. The sparks of friction when he rips the bandaids open tries to interfere with Nick's coffee breath, but negligibly, "smelling like cigarettes. Taking up vices in one room and not the other, that's cheating, that's worse than this."
Monroe smears the little plastic bandage smooth over his cheekbone with a broad thumb. Nick looks at him again, a faint furrow wrinkling the band-aid he presses into his brow next.
"This isn't cheating." Christ, he took his coffee black and strong, one spoonful of sugar (supplement, in Monroe's house). "This is work." Semi-sweet and Colombian.
"You don't need any more addictions," Monroe says abruptly, shaking his head, and Nick almost laughs. Monroe wipes his hands off on Nick's jeans, as a way of getting back at him that was pretty weak. He just got some mud and damp on his palms, left traces of peroxide and Nick's own blood in the fibers. He was still chilled underneath them, not emitting quite-near the usual Nick amount of heat. Monroe briefly touches his coffee mug, stood up to make him some more.
"I'm not addicted to anything," Nick sinks back, going slowly lax into the sofa, and his teeth are irritatingly, blindingly white. He has the gall to laugh. Monroe stares at him, points at the mug with eyebrows winging up. Nick's expression twists a little bit, because he's not getting it and increasingly dislikes the conversation, its proportion of about-Nick to about-imminent-threats. "Coffee? That can't possibly count."
"Habits count as addictions," Monroe says, a little irritable now, and maybe he's lashing out some because of the work comment. "You have two cups before you drive home, every time."
"Cops drink coffee," Nick says, and his lips twitch a bit farther from their grin. "And I have to get there awake."
"You call me Hank when you're on the phone with Juliette." Now he is lashing out, he's aware, but he's getting mad at the Grimm on his couch, blood and coffee-breath overrunning the scents of his home.
Nick drops the pretense of a smile. "That's a necessity."
"No," Monroe disagrees, his fingers wiping the residual, second-hand mud-damp-Grimm from his fingers onto his own hip, and he notices Nick noticing, "it's really not. It's habit, like the freaking coffee, man. She knows who I am. You could be with me, she wouldn't care. She'd worry less. You're just used to lying."
"You know," Nick says, and his voice sounds weirdly like gears springing apart, "one cup's enough for tonight, thanks," pushing himself up from Monroe's couch, leaving an indent and a coffee mug that would smell for days like Grimm and standing in a semicircle of his own medical hazards, band-aid wrappers Monroe hadn't realized he'd balanced on Nick's knees falling to the floor.
"You're hooked on being a Grimm," snapped. Because the sound of Nick's blood filling his wounds as he got wound up was pissing him off. "And on being a cop, and doing the right thing, and all that kind of- stuff, all that human kind of stuff, and none of this shit is good for you, dude, none of it."
He laughs, the little shit, his hair messed up and smelling like dirt and freaking Colombia; sways a little and for a second Monroe's anger blanches in the face of the sudden thought that Nick might pass out. He stops abruptly, takes a half-step towards him and Nick doesn't notice.
"Being a good person is an unhealthy addiction?"
"All addictions are unhealthy," Monroe says, crosses his heart, and then because Nick was still freaking him out a little- kind of pale, freaking laughing- he reaches out and catches his arm, braces it in his grip. He could hold him up one-handed if he wanted. "Yours more so than others."
"All I said was I wanted a cigarette. I used to smoke."
"Once or twice in the 90's in a friend's car after school isn't smoking" and Nick did fall a bit then, shit, half-into Monroe's chest and Monroe catches both his forearms, holds them in vice grips. He shakes Colombia out of his hair and into Monroe's nose, the damp mess of him touching his face.
"How do you do that," he says, and his lips are stretched into a tired grin and Monroe snorts.
"I know you, dude." Make and model. "You're straight edge."
"Not according to you, I'm not. According to you," Nick stands a little straighter, but isn't abashed about the weight put in Monroe's hands. They're gripping each other's forearms; there's a lot of arm hair involved, and wrinkled plaid and thermals, "I'm a fucking junkie." He's looking up at him now, looks entirely too tired to be mad anymore, too tired to figure out what this conversation is. There's a resigned confusion in his face and Monroe knows what eyeballs feel like when they pop between his teeth and is disturbed that the image comes to mind now.
"Yeah," kind of awkward I sort of want to eat your eyes Monroe shifts a bit, looks away for the first time, "well. We all are, aren't we? Kinda?"
Nick grunts noncommittally. Monroe balances him with one hand, moves the other to wipe a smear of something off his jaw he hadn't noticed until this new lighting hit him, standing and swaying. It might be the Euleteufel's blood, or Nick's, or just pieces of the fucked-up night they'd had immortalized in a streak on Nick's skin.
It doesn't come off, so he licks his thumb and swipes it across again.
"This isn't cheating."
When Monroe looks at Nick again, his eyes are closed. It looks a little like he's holding his breath. Monroe listens and confirms.
"I know, bro," he mumbles, rubs the pad of his thumb clockwise. "But I think you're hooked on it."